It seems that runoff is slowly starting to form here in Paradise Valley. That being said, don't feel like all hope is lost. Earlier in the week we feared that we may have lost the opportunity to fish our beloved Mother's Day Caddis hatch but the river has slowly begun to drop in flows and rise in visibility. Looking at the forecast, we have below freezing temps in Yellowstone National Park as well as cool night time temperatures here in the valley. Clarity is currently +/- 12 inches which is much more than we had yesterday. We also are beginning to see good numbers of caddis in and around Livingston, however it will still be a few days before they arrive here in Emigrant. Now is a great time to get out and find fish cycling in back eddies or slower soft spots in the river. Subsurface you can fish different caddis pupae and emerger imitations such as the Morrish's Super Pupae, Hare's Ear, and Shop Vacs in sizes 18-14. On the surface, fishing size 14-18 adult imitation such as the Bloom's Caddis, Elk Hair Caddis, or Goddard's Caddis in tan, olive, or light olive will bring fish to the surface that are keyed into bugs. There is still some time before the bugs really POP, but that doesn't mean you cant get out and find rising fish when clarity and conditions permit.
The lower portions of the Yellowstone are also experiencing a strong March Brown hatch. We have received reports of large numbers of bugs on the water, however lack of clarity hasn't allowed the trout to really key in on them. We have a great March Brown Emerger and adult pattern here at the shop if you are looking to really match the hatch. If you are out on the river this week be sure to have some size 14-12 Purple Haze, Copper Haze, and Parachute Adams just in case!
As clarity begins to improve, it may also be a great opportunity to get out those 7 weights and strip darker colored streamers. Galloup's Sex Dungeon, Peanut Envy, McKnight's Home Invadors, and others are all a great place to start. Try fishing colors such as olive or black to cast strong silhouettes for fish to see.
Keep and eye out for warm spells or rain in the future forecasts. We are hopeful that fish will be ready for the caddis once they really get going but can never be too sure with the Yoyo-Stone! Stay tuned for more updates regarding the river status.
Paradise Valley Spring Creeks are another option for fishing while the river is dirty. There have been good midge and baetis hatches when skies are cloudy and wind is calm. There also may be windows of caddis on the spring creeks, however we have not seen fish really keying into them at this time. When on the spring creeks please be on the lookout for redds and spawning fish so as not to interfere with our future generations of wild trout. Fishing subsurface may be the best place to start, however be ready for windows of excellent dry fly fishing. Zebra midges, Copper Sawyer's and Baetis nymphs are great to fish under a lightning strike indicator. Be sure to have some Griffith's Gnats, BWO Sparkle Duns, and Harrop's CDC Duns in sizes 18-20.
As always, if you would like a more in depth report, give us a call here at the shop and we will be happy to help.